Snow makes everything better

•January 21, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Even Beijing.

The temperature has risen, the roads are less busy, the streets are not as crowded, and surprisingly, people seem nicer. There is an eery calm in the air.

As I look up into the gray sky, small flakes of snow fall onto my eye lashes, blinding yet moisturizing at the same time.

Though the ground has become brown and slushy after hours of walking on, the untrodden patches of snow are beautiful and white.

No one in China has ever seen such pristine whiteness.

During our taxi ride, the windows fog up and distant blurred visions of trees with snowy tops peek through. It reminds me of a Western Winter Wonderland in the middle of the New York City of the Eastern world.

Men and women alike are bundled up in the warmest of counterfeit brand coats to cautiously trek across town, ride their bikes home, or just take a walk, despite the weather conditions.

Even the girls who wear sky high heels everyday have opted for lower heeled boots, just in case a misstep resulted in an embarrassing fall.

Who knew that a bit of precipitation could enhance everyone’s, including my, mood so much?

If this was the case, perhaps it should snow everyday…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-b3iU-INDo

 

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Eurotrip- Amurican Style

•January 21, 2013 • Leave a Comment

As I sit on my flight to Beijing, I can’t help but reminisce about the last two weeks of non-stop travel.

Paris: sitting on the tour bus and passing by the Eiffel tower countless times, being snubbed by natives for my underused French, eating butter-overload croissants, reliving the glory days in Disneyland with European teenagers, strolling along the Champs élysées.

London: visiting all the tourist hot spots with my friend from home, walking through blocked off once-busy streets and greeting strangers, spending a lively New Years at an overcrowded club, watching drunken people get groped and or naked on the dance floor, maneuvering home on the vomit-infested tube with thousands of random people.

Brussels: haphazardly finding our way around with public transport, randomly exploring the city by foot and stumbling upon the US embassy, coincidentally finding the main tourist areas, indulging on disappointing Belgian waffles.

Bruges: mindlessly wandering the city center, reveling in the town’s ancient history, wishing the canals were open for boating, enjoying the city’s delicacies for lunch, purchasing some much needed Belgian chocolate- especially the penis shaped ones.

Frankfurt: hanging out with US soldiers at an air force base, missing home after visiting an American army supermarket, driving around to nearby cities as a means to pass time, eating delicious food, wishing I properly learned German in middle school, getting angry at some natives at the airport.

Back to London for 24 hours and now I’m off again.  Both my body and mind are tired. They are both overwhelmed, overstimulated and overworked.

The next two weeks should hopefully be relaxing, especially since I need to finish two 3500 word assignments…Oh good.

I guess I’ll rest when I’m dead? #yolo

Relationships

•December 27, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I don’t understand relationships.

What makes a person like another? What makes a person fall in love? What makes two people compatible enough that they want to spend every waking moment together?

What if one person likes the other more? What makes a person fall out of like or love? When is the right moment to end a relationship?

Friends with benefits, Girlfriend/boyfriend, lovers, dating, hook ups, casual sex, monogamy, exclusivity, being “official”- what does it all mean??

With only about 4 years of real life experience of living with boys on a daily basis (ie after all girls high school), I am confused as fuck and mentally and emotionally stunted.

Based on my knowledge gained in the complicated yet non-complicated world of college hook ups, I know nothing about substantial long-term, heart-wrenching romances that all young girls dream about, Disney movies exaggerate, and rom-coms make light of.

Hand holding, cuddling, PDA, love poems, constant affection, cryfests post love making may sound fun and dandy to some girls, but I’m not sure I’m programmed to enjoy such stereotypical activities (minus an occasional cuddle in private).

Of course, I , like all girls, crave affection and attention from the opposite sex, but most of the time, I believe I’m happy enough in my daily life to forego it. Even when I’m lonely, I have found that I have plenty of friends to make me feel better- sounds like what a future/current cat lady would say.

Nowadays, my “relationships” seem to be too calculated for my liking- how much can I text someone to not seem needy, will people view me as slutty if I sleep with whomever I’m attracted to, should I continue seeing someone just to have company and not be lonely, how much of flirting with others will count as cheating?

I miss the times when I was so young and dumb that I ferociously liked a classmate crush, blasted sappy love songs (channel Whitney or Celine), and cried while reenacting our hypothetical marriage with Barbie dolls.

Those days are long past.

Now, when I cry, it’s usually because of “pent up hormones” or an “emotional blockage” as my current “lover” likes to reassure me. The only thing about marriage I think about is if I will actually have one and I haven’t played with Barbies in over a decade. However, I do listen to the occasional sappy love song when iPod shuffle surprises me.

At the moment, I am confused. I’m not sure if I want to be alone, date, just hook up with no strings attached, have a steady boyfriend, return to celibacy, flee the country and forget about everything or continue my complicated limbo felationship. The second to last sounds pretty good since it’s usually a cure to my problems, but this time I’m uncertain.

“I can be whatever you want me to be” is not something an indecisive person, like me, wants to hear. “I could see myself marrying someone like you” is a sure way to scare me off. “I want to repair your heart” is exactly what broken girls dream their knight in shining armor would say to them, yet, I awkwardly laugh in disbelief and shudder in fear- fear of getting hurt, fear of being vulnerable, fear of failure and wasted time, energy, and love.

I’m not sure how to get over such silliness, but hopefully it’ll pass soon. For now, complication is acceptable and I will attempt to be more open to the R word and listen to more love songs in 2013.

The End of the World

•December 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment

We survived.

I guess we can all go back to carrying on with our lives now and try to find happiness as well as figure out the meaning of life through whatever it is we fill our time with. We can return to our mundane work, academic studies, insignificant relationships, colleague luncheons, last-minute Christmas shopping, holiday planning, and hoping for the future now that we know we have one.

A few days ago, when my mom asked me about the imminent Mayan apocalypse, I was surprised she was so convinced. In her time of fear, she asked if I shared her feelings and to reassure her, I said no.

“If the world was actually ending, being scared won’t help anything. Just be happy and live the rest of your days in peace,” my rarely present rational side reassured her.

After our conversation, I began thinking about my life. Did I really believe what I told her? If the world actually ended, would I be content? Did I “live” enough to have a significant life?

Of course I’ve traveled an obscene amount, met thousands of interesting people, developed dozens of meaningful friendships, studied a decent amount, and experienced many things most people would never have a chance to, but is all of that sufficient?

To some people, yes, but I wasn’t convince.

Unfortunately, I still haven’t defined what love is or been in love, I’m still not convinced that we’re put on Earth solely to procreate, I still haven’t had a proper job with a consistent salary, I haven’t been married or had children (thankfully), and most importantly, I’ve recently realized I’m still quite naive and sheltered and need to learn more.

I haven’t experienced true success, true failure, true hurt, true loss, true pain, true happiness, true love and therefore still don’t understand the essence of life.

22 years is definitely not long enough to find out so I’m glad the Mayans are giving me a second chance.

I just hope the rest of the human race doesn’t ruin it for all of us.

“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” -Albert Camus

Mañana, mañana

•December 17, 2012 • Leave a Comment

“Tomorrow, tomorrow” is an expression commonly used in Spain to remind friends and family to enjoy the day and assure them that things will be ok tomorrow.

When my friend and I touched down in Barcelona, our worries diminished and we immediately adopted the Spanish attitude of ease, happiness, and fun. Our moods brightened immensely according to the beaming warm sun and our ability to give fucks disappeared.

We joined our new Spanish friends in all aspects of their normal life: dining in the wee hours of the night, casually lounging around the city with no cares in the world, mindlessly exploring just because we had no set plans, eating for the sake of enjoying delicious food, smiling because everyone else seemed to be happy.

Strolling on the pristine beach, watching cute old couples hold hands, weaving through busy Christmas markets, and listening to the lull of speedy Spanish conversations livened us up and made us regret choosing our current hometown of freezing London.

At the end of each day, we hoped that our constant laughter cancelled out the countless calories we ate. On the first night, getting lost 300 meters away from our hotel brought upon a bought of nonstop giggling. The next day, our awkward evening adventures of visiting a sketchy casino, getting offered beer and cocaine on the street by random strangers, and not understanding Spanish directions perpetuated hysterics at our midnight dinner. Finally, during our flight on the last day, constant laughing was initiated by too many cups of coffee and a stuffed nose.

Though we unfortunately didn’t get tan, return with exotic lovers, or even party with some Spaniards, we can honestly say we enjoyed every moment of life in Barcelona.

A weekend away makes the boredom go away.

In repair

•November 6, 2012 • Leave a Comment

No one wants to get hurt, no one wants to feel pain, no one wants their heart broken.

For the past few days, I have been called emotionless, indifferent, and lost.  Friends have psycho-analyzed me to death, providing insight on my life and suggesting ways to get my shit together while I sit quietly and take note.  I have been yelled at and reprimanded that there are more important issues in the world than my petty so called problems and that I need to keep my life in perspective, which I agree are all valid points.

With a boy that genuinely likes me and tries to get to know me, flaws and all, I purposely distance myself to prevent any possible heartache.

With newly made friends, I can sense myself not putting in the 100% effort, knowing that perhaps at the end of my 15 month course, I may not see them again if I return home.

With my temporary flatmate and long lost friend, I put on a smile and hold back tears at times when I don’t want to seem vulnerable, weak, or unhappy.

Not sure when, where, or how I became this empty shell of a person, but it’s not doing me any good and I definitely need to change, I just don’t know how.

Though living in the present is undoubtedly easier said than done, people keep telling me this as if I can snap my fingers and renew my sense of happiness.

Perhaps I need to be alone for a few celibate months and find myself again, perhaps I need to constantly spend time with people who love me, perhaps I should buy a cat, as previously desired.

At the moment, I just don’t know.  I just hope I get better soon.

 

One World, One Love

•October 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Of the 38 students in my masters course, more than 20 countries are represented. With our Bangladeshi course advisor, South African professor, and my new bffles from Norway, Kenya, and France/Israel, I feel as if I’m forming my own United Nations hub in the middle of London.

When I first arrived in the UK, I found that a lot of people were surprised by my American accent, probably because it was attached to my yellow face, and some even smirked when I talked. Perhaps I reminded them of the stereotypical dumb Americans on TV they poisoned their brains with or perhaps they just appreciated an Asian who could speak proper English, who knows?

During the first days of Uni induction, I received too many incredulous, yearning looks from my classmates whenever I said I was from America. Even random strangers who I happened to have conversations with were confused as to why I would choose to uproot my life in the States and come to England since “the food, weather, and people are shit,” as an individual so incisively stated.

He went on to elaborate: “the English people are passive aggressive, rarely show emotion, and act fake in order to please others. It’s not human; this is how they conquered so many countries and took advantage of so many people.”

As he backed up his argument with solid facts and a quick history lesson, I couldn’t help but slightly see his point, even if he was unhealthily bitter and awkwardly asked me out on a date after our conversation.

Aside from him, I have heard too many stories of American friends working with or dating Brits who don’t say what they mean or mean what they say, out of fear for being improper, impolite, or just downright rude, hence why I should never marry a British guy… Obviously, I shouldn’t generalize the whole British population, but if there is a consensus, is it still untrue?

Another criticism this crazy (but brilliant?) man mentioned is that all the British care about is status: “even general practitioners make you fill out ethnicity surveys in order to filter you into their social hierarchy system.”

From my own experience during my brief stays in London, I have realized that a lot of things do tend to be based upon status, power, and money. UK life seems to care a bit too much about who you know, where you’re from, what members club you belong to, where you vacation- both with family and with the lads, which boarding school you went to, whether you attended the Oxbridge annual regatta or not, if you partied with the characters from Made in Chelsea last weekend, etc.

I may just have one group of posh Brits in mind, but that group is quite prominent in “high British society.” Even walking through Hyde Park the other day, I was bombarded by the British Horse Society. I love horses just as much as the next person, but flaunting the 5 ponies you have through the park while there’s a homeless man living outside of Hyde Park Corner tube station seems a bit excessive.

Nowadays, one of my favorite things to ask cabbies is if they like living in the city and I’ve formed a hypothesis: real English drivers usually do enjoy London but most seem to have some qualms about England losing its identity since there are so many international people here while the minority cabbies resent the English.

I’m not sure if this is due to cultural difference, prejudice, racism, jealousy, misunderstanding, bigotry, unwillingness to accept change, conservative views, or sheltered upbringing, but people, not only the British, need to start realizing that world is changing and everyone is here for the long haul whether it’s your “home turf” or not.

Though I’ve met plenty of nice, friendly English people and made some life-long British friends, I am always happy to expand my network, no matter where that person comes from, what ethnicity he or she is, or how much “status” he or she has. Social standing is immeasurable compared to the amount of laughs we have or number of jokes we make.

We are all humans, we all share one Earth, and we all have hearts so we should start appreciating each other rather than fighting.

#oneworldonelove